Northern Ireland

Health strike: Unions invited to fresh talks

health strike Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Nurses and other healthcare workers have been taking industrial action for several weeks amid complaints of poor pay and staffing levels

The Department of Health has invited health unions to engage in fresh talks.

It comes ahead of further strike action planned for this week involving the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unison.

On Wednesday, nurses from the RCN will stage their second day of strike action over staffing levels and pay.

Healthcare members of Unison, Northern Ireland's largest union across the health and social services system, will be taking strike action on Friday.

In a statement, the department's permanent secretary Richard Pengelly said it was not too late for trade unions to defer the industrial action and get back round the table.

Nurses and other healthcare workers have been taking industrial action for several weeks amid complaints of poor pay and staffing levels.

Midwives in Northern Ireland are being asked if they are willing to take industrial action over pay.

The ballot by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) opened on Monday and will close on 29 January.

The union said midwives in Northern Ireland were paid less than their counterparts in Great Britain.

Health workers say they want to be paid the same as their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.

Pay parity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK ended in 2014.

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